Why isn’t Greg LeMond More Popular?

Perhaps this question is obvious to you: he’s no longer racing a bike. His bike company has some graphic design problems (that’s the friendly way of saying they’re ugly- and Greg, if you want to discuss this in detail, drop me an e-mail). I suppose that qualifies him to be a has-been, but come on, the guy’s cool. Take a few cool-ness factors here:

1. He became a successful cyclist during an age when most Americans didn’t know there was a Tour de France. His first Tour win was in front of his own teammate who was trying to break the record five wins (Hinault).

2. He got shot, lost 75 percent of his blood, and still had 30 pellets from the shotgun shell lodged in his body after the surgery (last time I checked anyway). (Click on the photo of his x-ray.)

3. He returned to win the Tour de France again in an epic battle, described by Phil Liggett as his "favorite" Tour de France, capped off by a mere eight-second difference achieved in the final time trial. He used aero bars. He beat out a Parisian in Paris, no less. Heckya.

4. He won the World Championship three times and came in second twice.

5. He very conclusively never did EPO. He’s just way stinkin’ tough.

Okay, granted, he only won the world’s toughest sporting event three times. He drank Coke before and after races, good point. But c’mon folks, the guy had ripped quads, a cheerful smile and nifty sunglasses. And we all know it’s really about the sunglasses anyway.


8 thoughts on “Why isn’t Greg LeMond More Popular?

  1. Unknown

    I loved Greg Lemond, still do. His TDF wins were epic. I still watch my old tapes of them, because they just seem more real. Doping wasn\’t the big deal back then. The rivalrys were more intense, more personal, which made Lemond\’s victories much sweeter. He seemed more real than the current big guns of the sport, less arrogant, more personable and reachable than Lance. Maybe it\’s just a sign o\’ the time.

  2. Dodger

    I think it has more to do with the way Armstrong won.  Besides, Lemond just sounds French.  Do you have to wonder?
    Man, thats sounds bad…

  3. Sue

    One reason: He\’s a wanker.
    I had a similar question and so red a couple biographies on him. I thought the first one had a bone to pick with him, so I read another. The first book basically said, "no one who knows Lemond likes him."

  4. Zed

    Boz- right on.

    Tom- hold off, if you get a Trek, they\’re basically the same thing. Trek actually owns and manufactures LeMond bikes. In fact, LeMond\’s web site makes reference to AC/DC carbon-aluminum technology, well Gary Fisher\’s says the same thing. It\’s just a Trek with a different name.

    Dodger- True, Armstrong had a style all his own–kinda mercilous. I think he also appeals to people because of his personality and background–punk kid from a single-parent family who manages to grow up and take on the world … that\’s every punk kid\’s dream, no? It definitely resonated with me.

    Botched- really? I hadn\’t heard that. I guess that sorta makes sense.

    BIg Mike- hey, I heard you stand a chance against Ullrich this year with his "catastrophic" condition and your trim Australian surfer-dude condition, eh? I think you should give Robbie Mac a call and see if he\’ll let you join in this year. I\’m sure one of those no-names will give up his spot on the team for you.

  5. Unknown

    His name sounds French, he liked the French, the French mostly liked him.  Strike one.
    He is a grumpy old man of cycling.  Andy Hampsten (my #2 favorite of that era) is cheerful and won the Giro in the most heroic fashion possible, but he is humble and upbeat.  Bob Roll (my #1 favorite of that era) is affable as all getout, and was an MTB pioneer in addition to carrying Lemond and others on his back, repeatedly, as a super-domestique.  Lemond though…  The older he gets, the worse these new riders all suck.  He\’s just grumpy.  Strike two.
    He seems to be attempting to preserve his legacy by calling Lance\’s into question.  Well, here\’s a newsflash, Greg.  You maybe don\’t fargin shoot yourself, or eat yourself into blimp-like shape, a la me, then maybe you have a shot at winning 5 or 7. And no matter how bad Lance gets downed, it won\’t give Lemond a 4th win, or take 4 wins away from Armstrong.  And oh, BTW, Lance really truly is going about doing a lot of fundraising and outreach to kids with cancer, and has given millions of people hope.  On the other hand, Lemond has made a good name for himself telling us "I only care about bicycling as a sport, and because of that, I assure you, Lance Armstrong sucks."  Um, yeah, Greg.  He really drove people away from the sport, the cheatin\’ bastid.  Strike three, Greg-o-rino. 

  6. Zed

    After some exhaustive (meaning 30 seconds of googling) research, I\’ve discovered another non-coolness factor for the Gregster: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news.php?id=news/2005/feb05/feb02news
    Okay, see, Eddy Merckx did some cool stuff with his bike line: http://www.eddymerckx.be/
    And trying to market your bikes in Target and Costco with cheap Schwinn parts on them probably isn\’t a great marketing strategy for the road bike market … just my thoughts on the subject.
    It probably wasn\’t wise or accurate of him to say that he doesn\’t think his image has been eclipsed by Lance Armstrong, because, hey, face the facts …

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